FG reviews 2020 draft FCT court sentencing guidelines, practice direction
The Federal Government on Monday reviewed the 2020 Draft Federal Capital Territory Courts Sentencing Guideline and Practice Directions, geared towards the effective implementation of the Nigerian Correctional Service Act, 2019.
The Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakarile Malami, SAN, made this known in Abuja while declaring open a Virtual Interactive Session, organised by the Presidential Committee on Correctional Service Reform and Decongestion in collaboration with the Federal Ministry of Justice.
Malami in his keynote address said the pilot document will be extended to other States of the Federation, especially those States that have enacted the Administration of Criminal Justice Law.
He enumerated the objectives of the proposed consolidated Sentencing Guidelines as follow –
“To set out the appropriate standards and guidelines for the sentencing process in offense against the state, person, public order, morality, homicide, property and corruption-related offense, for the purpose of ensuring reasonable uniformity and fairness in sentencing in the FCT.
“To set out the requirements and procedure for imposing custodial and non-custodial sentences for the purpose of preventing abuse and ensuring reasonable uniformity and fairness in the imposition of sentences.
“Also to ensure that congestion in prisons is reduced to the barest minimum through the use of non-custodial sentences in line with section 470(2)(c) of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act, 2015 (hereinafter referred to as ‘ACJA’) and section 2(1)(b) of the Nigerian Correctional Service Act, 2019”.
He said that if Judges must not exceed the term prescribed in the statute creating an offense or exceed the quantum prescribed in punishing the offender, there must be a Sentencing Guidelines.
“For us to avoid disparity in sentencing from one judicial officer to the other, then there must be a uniform guideline. For us to deploy non – custodial measures appropriately, then there must be Sentencing Guidelines.
“I have read the draft Consolidated Sentencing Guidelines and I believe that it has taken into consideration all the factors enumerated under sections 311, 313, 316, 317 and 401 of the ACJA, 2015 especially the objectives of sentencing, including the principles of reformation and deterrence, the interest of the victim, the convict and the community; the appropriateness of non – custodial sentence or treatment in lieu of imprisonment; and previous conviction of the convict”.
He appreciated the hard work of all stakeholders for their dedication, commitment and interest towards the development of the critical document. (NAN)